Imams: we want to “hit [US Airways] where it hurts, the pocketbook”

Six imams (who had just attended a private conference on imams and the media and politics) were waiting for US Airways Flight 300 and decided to act rather provocatively: they shouted “Allahu Akbar!” loudly while praying in the waiting area, refused to take their assigned seats (instead squatting in the front row of first class and the exit rows—consistent with trying to control the entry and exit areas of the plane), demanded use of a seatbelt extension for the morbidly obese despite being only moderately overweight (and then placed the heavy-buckled potential weapons under their seats instead of on their seatbelts), and started speaking to one another in Arabic (which a fellow passenger translated as angry denunciations of America). They succeeded in the attempt to draw attention to themselves; the captain asked them to leave the plane, they refused, and were then arrested; the plane then underwent a 3.5-hour search for bombs.

“They should have been denied boarding and been investigated,” former air marshal Robert MacLean said. “It looks like they are trying to create public sympathy or maybe setting someone up for a lawsuit.”

Sure enough, the victimizers are now playing victim and threatening to sue under the auspices of the Muslim American Society (which was previously in the news for demanding that Muslim cab-drivers be permitted to refuse rides to passengers carrying alcohol) and the litigious Council on American-Islamic Relations (Apr. 25). The provocation, helped along by new Congressman Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), also appears to have its desired effect: “The Minneapolis airport plans to add a prayer room for Muslims, and Democrats plan to hold hearings on Muslim profiling.” (Audrey Hudson, “How the Imams Terrorized an Airliner”, Washington Times/Front Page, Nov. 29; Arizona Republic op-ed, Nov. 29; Debra Burlingame, “On a Wing and a Prayer”, Wall Street Journal, Dec. 6; LGF blog, Nov. 21; “Tale of Fibbing Imams”, Investors Business Daily, Dec. 4 via Powerline blog, Dec. 6).


  • Ted, fascinating post. This brought out lots of important facts that I had not seen in previous accounts. It helped provide context for the airline’s actions.

  • My idea of a perfect flight crew is a beer machine and a guy with a gun.

  • Let them sue. Defendants get to take discovery too, you know. US Airways should subopoena Keith Ellison. I think that would make for a very interesting deposition.

  • Actually the “six” should be arrested on exhibiting a terroristic threat!

    CAIR and the like can spend some of that oil money to defend them as well!

  • Praying was the first thing that caused suspicion that these people might be terrorists. Some airports have chapels in them, so maybe they should be closed. Or some people should be stopped from going in them, or detained when leaving. When I fly my seat is assigned when I buy the ticket so sitting together may not have been possible for the Imams.

    [The Imams aren’t being criticized for not sitting together (though they did sit together in three groups), they’re being criticized for squatting in first-class seats that they were not entitled to. — TF]

  • One hopes that their names will end up on Federal “No-fly” lists, and that their next trip to an Imam’s conference will be on Grayhound.